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MacElveen, Mary  (2005)  USA needs a President just like Venezuela's Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias...

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To US Senator Mel Martinez, I would say that we who admire President Hugo Chavez Frias do not do so as if we are following a cult leader; we follow him because of his many policies that do meet the needs of his people.

It is not about populism ... but true leadership.

In an article in The Miami Herald entitled Martinez warns of Chavez populism spreading I quote:Sen. Mel Martinez warned on Friday "that unless the United States adopts a more comprehensive and active approach toward Latin America, the region risks sliding into populist Chavismo, anti-American sentiment."

I would like to know if the senator means that we need to invade Venezuela to stop President Chavez ... haven't we done enough damage already with our illegal invasion of Iraq?

I can see him (Martinez) bringing this up since Iraq has oil and Venezuela does as well.

It is not about anti-American sentiment, but our sense of entitlement, where our government feels we are entitled to any commodity in the world even if it does not belong to us in the first place.

"The Florida Republican has previously voiced his concerns that the administration was doing too little for the region."

Is it even our place to be doing anything in regards to this region?

Who made us the world's police?

Haven't we learned through the deaths of our soldiers that interfering in the affairs of a sovereign nation comes with a heavy price?

Could the reason be that there is a spread of his 'populism' is because he is speaking to the very issues that do concern the American people?

The issues that I speak of are of feeding the poor, delivering discounted oil to the poor and helping to provide eye surgery to those that cannot afford it.

Senator Martinez, instead of being concerned with his populism: How about you concern yourself with those who still go uninsured in this country (USA) or are underinsured?

As the Medicaid roles continue to be slashed many in this country still go unfed and go without medical care.

Senator Martinez is concerned with "the dangerous relationship between Cuba and Venezuela.'' Well, let's see, Cuba has provided thousands of Venezuelans with quality medical care at no expense to the people of Venezuela. That is dangerous?

As I stated above, President Chavez wishes to provide free eye surgery to the poor in this country where his country will provide the transportation and Cuban doctors will provide the surgeries. Is that dangerous?

No, what it shows me is that President Hugo Chavez is the true compassionate president ... he understands the poor because he came from a poor upbringing and went on to serve his country out of a sense of duty.

There was no Air National Guard 'bolthole' from duty for President Chavez ... there was for Bush.

We get to an insightful passage within the article that can be used against us: "His remarks came as several speakers expressed concerns over the direction of Latin American democracies, especially the incapacity of governments to resolve poverty and the sense of alienation that have left many Latin Americans unhappy with their leaders despite strong economic growth."

There is an increase in this country (USA) where more of our fellow Americans are finding themselves in abject poverty and many, such as me, have come to believe that Bush and the rest of our government are incapacitated where these problems are not being addressed.

Also, there are many Americans, like me who feel a sense of alienation coming from our government. One only has to look at the poor who were cast aside in Hurricane Katrina to know this to be a fact.

What this reminds me of is when you point the finger of blame at someone; three are pointing right back at you.

Now the most laughable statement made within this article "Martinez said the United States should promote democratic stability, economic development and public diplomacy."

Well have we done so in Iraq?

Where is Iraq’s democratic stability?

Where is their economic development?

So far what many have seen is complete chaos and that is what we wish to bring to South America?

If I were a leader in any of these South American nations including Venezuela, I would say, "Mind your own business!"

Oh and President Chavez should remind Bush just how he came into power ... he did not do so in a democratic way ... he had to rely on five black-robed justices to stop the vote counting back in the 2000 presidential election.

In Venezuela, the casting of votes did take place and were actually counted and Chavez won 59% of the votes in his re-election.

So, who are we as a country to teach any country what democracy really means?

Senator Martinez admitted he could not make "magical things happen'' in terms of more economic assistance. But he noted that the resources Latin America already receives could be better used."

Well considering our ever increasing deficit just how can we make any magic happen?

Oh ... so with this budget deficit where Bush turned a surplus handed to him by Clinton into said deficit: Are we the ones who should be giving any other country let alone South America advice when it comes to their economic welfare?

So, let us review please why many are paying attention to President Chavez and have come to admire him. In the face of adversity where his life was threatened by one of George W. Bush's friends, he turned his cheek and offered this country aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Here President Hugo Chavez was ready to send us and this )Bush) administration refused: One million dollars, two mobile medical units capable of attending to 150 people each, ten water purifying plants, eight electricity generators with a capacity of 850 kilowatts each, 20 tonnes of bottled drinking water, 50 tonnes of canned food. This aid package also included much needed oil to offset any disturbances to our nation’s supply. As many of you are well aware, there was little if no damage to their (CITGO) refineries.

If Sen. Martinez is so worried about Cuba being dangerous, here is what they were willing to send us, yet again, Bush refused such aid: President Castro stood ready to send 1,500 well-qualified doctors to the United States, are trained in disaster relief ... they had been sent to Sri Lanka to deal with the Tsunami disaster last year. They also suffered a category five hurricane last year in which doctors, along with the citizens that live in their community, evacuated to emergency shelters. They also stocked these shelters with refrigerators so that their evacuees would not go hungry. Included in this evacuation plan, veterinarians were also evacuated to the centers to care for the citizens' pets. Due to Cuba's well thought out plans, they suffered no loss of life due to Hurricane Ivan.

It is not through any Kool Aid-induced haze that many like me follow and admire President Hugo Chavez ... we do so because we see something coming from him that is truly lacking here within our own government.

We see, through many of the policies he has put into place, that which he is doing for his people while Washington, D.C. just talks about it.

It is one thing to stand in front of a podium to state what you wish to do for people, but it is another thing entirely to state that you have actually done it. Well, President Chavez has done it and, damn it, many in this country want that as well. We want our needs addressed and carried out instead of the top one percent who have continually gotten their way.

In closing, Senator Martinez; your time is best spent working for our citizens instead of sticking your nose where it does not belong.

Your constituents elected you to take care of their matters first and foremost.

Now get back to work.

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